An energy audit is sort of like a physical check up for your home. This is especially important in the case of an older home which may have been built before the updated building code called for a certain level of insulation and air tightness. An energy audit is a great way to find out exactly which interventions will have the most impact on lowering your home’s energy usage and reducing heating and cooling losses.
To make the process even easier, Xcel Energy even has a program available to their customers for home energy audits, including options for rebates to offset the cost of the audit.
An energy audit is often the first step we recommend for our remodel clients. That way, we can be sure to design the project with all the data available. This allows us to meet budgetary needs while making the best choices to craft a more efficient home.
In addition to finding areas that lack insulation or have air leakage, energy auditors can point out aging mechanical systems which may be having a greater than necessary impact on energy bills and carbon emissions. Going all electrical with the mechanical systems in a home is one great way to plan for the future, as our energy grid becomes less dependent on fossil fuels. The auditor will recommend specific practices for sealing leaks and insulating, or suggest which systems to upgrade. We can help you decide which of these options will give you the best and healthiest home.
With the data from an energy audit, together with Living Craft, you can choose which areas of your home to focus on, whether it’s air sealing in the attic, adding cellulose insulation, or upgrading an aging water heater or boiler. Once we’ve set up your home to be more efficient, we can then design interior renovations that will make it more beautiful and healthy.
For example, one client came to us with a bathroom remodel project. Since her bathroom tub was leaky, it had caused damage to the ceiling below, and obviously needed some work. After an energy audit, we were able to find out that the attic also needed air sealing and the bathroom fan wasn’t venting outdoors, but instead bringing humid air out of the bathroom and in to the attic. Since these are not ideal, we were able to reroute the bath fan vent, air seal and add insulation into the attic, and also give her an updated bathroom with a fully water sealed shower. Without the energy audit, she may have only acheived some of these objectives. She not only got a rebate from Xcel, she also saves money every month on her heating and cooling bills, and stays more comfortable year-round in her home.
So, if you have an older home that you are planning on upgrading or remodeling, be sure to get that energy audit before you start budgeting for other upgrades, because it is the quickest and simplest way to start saving money on energy bills. Even if the inside of your home doesn’t need any work, an energy audit can let you know where the weak spots in your building envelope are, without being intrusive. And if you need help interpreting the results and deciding which interventions to make, let us know!